These days, it’s easy to become bewildered or overwhelmed when absorbing the news—on top of the stresses we all encounter in our routine lives. So, it’s important to develop coping skills we can turn to when we need a little lift. Gratitude can help accomplish this: when we stop to appreciate all we have instead of all we want, we can end up happier, calmer, and more content. Take a moment to be grateful.
Author Deepak Chopra, M.D., says practicing gratitude is a way to counteract stress and stay healthy. Taking life one day at a time can help. Here are things you can do to make gratitude part of your attitude.
Keep a gratitude journal. Write down what makes you grateful. We often dwell on losses or unfulfilled wishes rather than the many reasons we have to be happy. Think in general terms. Are you grateful for your family, home, health, work, or hobbies? On a particular day, you might be pleased that a project tuned out better than expected or your commute was quick and almost pothole-free. Perhaps you found a quarter in the supermarket parking lot or bought a sweater half-price at a late-winter sale. Take pleasure in an early thaw, the first brave crocus, the “car wash” you got thanks to a windy rainstorm. When you jot these thoughts down, they can add up and boost your mood in surprisingly effective ways.
Send someone a special card. Thank them for the happiness they bring into your life. Mention what comes to mind when you think of them. Write a note about something thoughtful they’ve done for you or others. Did they help you during a crisis or give you a gift? You may just want to say you are thinking of them and their unique quirks or turns of phrase. Feel free to illustrate it with small sketches or cartoons. My friends have done this, and the recipients have treasured such notes for years.
Make a sign thanking people who have made a difference for you, your family, or the community. This could include essential workers such as hospital staff, postal and grocery store employees, or everyone working at your favorite restaurant. These people have been stressed for two years throughout the pandemic, sometimes becoming the targets of frustration just by being there! A small gesture can make a big difference.
Deliver home-baked cookies or another treat to anyone who has had an impact on your life. If you can afford to make a financial contribution, donate to area shelters, food banks, or similar organizations serving those in need. and it costs nothing to give away a smile or a thumbs-up to someone you see working to keep services or the economy moving forward.
Change is one of the few constants in life. It can sometimes seem abrupt and disruptive, but, without change, we would have no hope.